November 16, 2023

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.


But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation, but as it is written,


“Those who have never been told of him will see,
    and those who have never heard will understand.”


I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.


Romans 15:7, 15-21, 30-33


The Apostle Paul warmly encourages us to welcome and accept each other, just as Christ did for us, promoting a culture of grace and unity (Romans 15:7). This is not a passive acceptance but an active extension of fellowship that honors God and mirrors the breadth of His mercy.


Dallas Willard once remarked, “Spiritual growth is not a matter of getting away from our jobs, our banks, our schools, and our families and then learning about Christ. Growth is about receiving the life of Christ within us as it flows into these areas.” It is in the flow of Christ’s life through us that we find the power to embrace others in genuine love and to see the fruit of the Spirit manifest in every aspect of our lives.


The mission, as exemplified by Paul’s eagerness to preach the Gospel (Romans 15:15-21), beckons us to consider our role in the Great Commission. Our mission field is all around us, in every person we meet and every place we step into. Paul’s transparency in seeking prayer for his journey and his endeavors (Romans 15:30-33) speaks to the vital role that communal support and intercession play in the life of the believer. We are not isolated; we are intricately woven together in the tapestry of God’s family.


Let us, therefore, be united in our mission and fervent in our prayers, supporting one another as we seek to live out the fullness of our calling in Christ.

For Reflection

How can I cultivate a more welcoming and inclusive spirit toward others in my everyday life?


What steps can I take to be more engaged in sharing the love and truth of Christ in my immediate context?


O God, bind us together in the unity of Your Spirit, that we may be one as You are one. Strengthen our hands and hearts to embrace the mission before us, serving as Your ambassadors of reconciliation and peace. May our lives be a continual prayer that honors You. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Rev. Deanne Townsend
Pastor for Family Ministries